Platinum, Palladium Panda Coins

Elusive pandas on the scarce white metals

Chinese Platinum Panda Coins

In 1982, the China Mint authorized the release of the first gold panda coin. Panda coins in all four precious metals, weights and sizes, have been produced every year since 1982. This is in part due to the panda’s appeal as a cultural symbol, but also due to the careful artistry and fine craftsmanship of all of the Chinese panda coins. The coins produced in the very rarest of workable metals, platinum and palladium, make up a very small fraction of the total number of panda coins released. Most of the panda coins have been silver, gold or a combination of the two metals. The platinum and palladium coins are particularly valuable to collectors because so few were produced compared to those of other metals.

Though platinum is close in appearance to silver and close in value to gold, it is much rarer in nature than either of the two aforementioned precious metals. Not only is this metal less widely available, it is also harder to mine. There are far fewer active platinum mines than there are silver or gold. Ore deposits of palladium are also extremely rare. Like platinum, there are also very few mineable areas that contain palladium.

The platinum panda coins released by the China Mint were authorized in the years 1987 to 1990, the years 1993 to 1997 and the years between 2002 to 2005. Like many of the other panda coins, the coins vary greatly in price. Some of the platinum coins sell close to their spot metal values, while others have higher premiums due to actual and/or perceived scarcity.

There are four types of 1 oz platinum panda coin — one design was produced for each year between 1987 and 1990. These coins feature the same panda designs as their gold counterparts for the year in which they were released. The very first platinum panda coin was released in the year 1987. There was also an exquisite platinum panda medal released in 1987 featuring the World Trade Center Twin Towers as a part of the New York City skyline, along with the Great Wall of China.

The palladium panda coin family is even smaller than the coins of the the platinum panda family. The first and only palladium 1 oz coin was released in 1989. Palladium panda coins were only released in two other years: 2004 and 2005. Both of the palladium panda coins released in these years weigh 1/2 ounce. Because of the limited years that palladium panda coins have been released, it would be easier for a collector to acquire a full set of palladium panda coins than to find and purchase a unique and well-rounded collection of platinum panda coins. While it may be relatively easy to find and purchase 1 oz platinum coins from 1987–1990, it is more difficult to round out a set with 1/10 and 1/20 oz coins as some have disappeared from the marketplace in mint condition as many have been set into bezels or pendants and other were melted down by coin dealers due to lack of demand at the time.